08-31-2007, 06:30 PM
I recently stopped into Bob Clouser's fly shop south of Harrisburg PA during a trip where I was passing near by. He's a great guy to talk to. I asked him about how his guide business was going. He told me that productivity on the nearby Middletown stretch of the Susquehanna river had become so poor that it was necessary to travel forty miles upriver to get decent fishing and this was prohibitive due to the cost of gas. To give a better idea of how rapidly the fishing has dropped off, Bob said that 10 years ago, two anglers fishing 6 to 8 hours in the Middletown area, could expect to catch between 50 and 75 smallmouth per outing. Today one is hard pressed to catch 1 in an hour or two. So Bob is not guiding anymore. It was on this very stretch of river that Bob originally developed his fabulously successful Clouser Deep Minnow. And if only for that reason, this part of the Susquehanna is of great importance in fly fishing lore and history. Pollution, presumably from the expanding Harrisburg area, is what did the river in. Bob's comments that "It looks as if certain agencies can make more money off of humans than animals" and "animals can't vote" more or less sums up some of the bad attitude that went into destruction of both this river and many others across our land. He pointed out that most causes of mass amounts of nutrients come from agriculture, medical waste and over stressed public sewer systems. He also said that a lot of livlihoods were lost when the river went sour. Putting it mildly and kindly, I'm guessing there had to be insufficient concern for environmental impact as the expansion took place. Perhaps an even larger concern here is that the Susquehanna is the major tributary to Chesapeake Bay. The decline of biogrowth in the Bay and the great negative economic impact this has had, is well known and widely publicized. Surely the river pollution is contributing to this decline. Its hard for me to believe that measures were not in place to prevent all this destruction as the expansion proceeded.